I came across this article today about PETA’s new billboard. I know that PETA is known for being controversial but before I even listened to the audio interview, I was appalled by the billboard (which is pictured in the article).
It’s essentially saying that being a vegetarian means you’re going to “lose the blubber”, a.k.a. lose weight.
I listened the the audio interview and actually felt angry at this PETA spokesperson. She’s claiming that eating meat (her words: “their addiction to eating meat”) is responsible for the high levels of obesity in America. Because, you know, eating tons of sugar and products loaded with high fructose corn syrup obviously has nothing to do with it. Or the lack of education about proper portion sizes and nutrition in general.
While I think being vegetarian is a good thing, you still have to make proper choices. I’ve seen vegetarians simply cut meat out of their diet without replacing the protein they’re no longer getting. They don’t add in beans or tofu. They simply just don’t eat an adequate amount of protein. Maybe that will make you lose weight, but is that healthy? Not really. Or they’re losing weight because they’re simply not eating enough calorie-dense foods without having those protein sources. They’re living off vegetables and fruits.
While going vegetarian has been linked to losing weight and having a lower body weight, you could say the same for clean eating. This still involves eating meat, but choosing leaner cuts, and choosing whole, rather than processed foods. How can PETA claim that it’s unhealthy?
I also know several vegetarians that lost absolutely no weight when taking meat out of their diet. I know one that gained a lot of weight, despite eating a good amount of protein from non-animal products.
The ads just seem unnecessarily harsh and I felt offended as I’m not a vegetarian. I lost weight while still eating meat. 42.5 pounds to be exact AND I’m at a perfectly healthy BMI. While I do eat some vegetarian meals, or occasionally have vegetarian days, I’m not fully vegetarian and eat one to two servings of meat products each day. According to PETA I should be obese and/or unhealthy but I feel healthy as I eat a clean diet and pay attention to nutrition.
I think the mistake people make which can lead to obesity is not paying attention to nutrition and portions sizes. I don’t believe it has much to do with eating meat, unless you apply the incorrect portion sizes argument to it, but then, really, almost any food could be labeled as “soley responsible”. People who are vegetarians CAN be just as uninformed about proper nutrition as those who eat meat. Like I said before, I know some that simply cut out protein and others who gained weight because they still ate too large of portion sizes.
Overall, I doubt being offensive is going to bring loads of people over to PETA’s side. I doubt a billboard calling non-vegetarians fat is going to make them skip the meat. It certainly doesn’t bring me any desire to become a vegetarian. Perhaps if they really were trying to care and bring awareness to people eating too much meat they should have gone about it in a better way. Such as, you know, presenting actual facts instead of having a spokesperson skew them on Montel’s show (which he obviously didn’t fall for and then called her out on it). If anything, I could see this campaign resulting in people just skipping out on meat because of the “I might get fat” fear, and then their nutrition will not be any better than it was before.
I think the bottom line is proper nutrition rather than abandoning a particular food group. If you want to be a vegetarian, that’s fine, but be properly nourished, etc. The same goes for eating meat. It’s about moderation and choosing the proper portion size. In the end, I think that makes a healthier diet and would fight obesity much more than an anti-meat campaign.
Alright, so soapbox away! I’m off to help my dad drywall our downstairs bathroom, which should be interesting considering the fact that I can barely use a hammer, let alone put up drywall!